Anxiety is our body’s way of preparing us for the exertion and effort of coping with stress. However, when anxiety is chronic, it consumes our body’s resources, and drains us of critical nutrients. When anxiety continues too long or is too severe, it compromises our immune system, and undermines our ability to cope effectively. Supplements can serve a vital function by calming our nerves and replenishing necessary vitamins and minerals. As much as possible, try to obtain these vitamins from food sources, but vitamin supplements can be helpful, especially during times of extended duress.
The various types of B vitamins, referred to as the vitamin B complex when they are contained in one source, are necessary for maintaining the functioning of your metabolism, immune system, brain and hormonal health. Vitamin B1, thiamine, reduces anxiety and calms the nerves. Vitamin B3, Niacin, is involved in metabolism, which is the breaking down of chemicals for energy, and the use of energy to build molecules. Niacin also is involved in the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that calms the nervous system. Vitamin B5, pantothenic acid, is essential for maintenance of the adrenal glands, which produce hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine that regulate our body’s responses during stress. Vitamin B12 is involved in the production of important bodily chemicals such as the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep, and neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin, which regulate mood. Vitamin B is in beans, peas, meat, poultry, fish and grains.
Vitamin C is involved in adrenal gland and brain chemistry functioning. According to author Phylis Balch, in “Prescription for Nutritional Healting," vitamin C can have a significant tranquilizing effect, especially when it is administered in dosages between 5,000 and 10,0000mg daily. Food sources of vitamin C include vegetables such as asparagus, bell peppers, celery, cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, cauliflower, mustard and turnip greens, and Brussels sprouts. Many fruits contain vitamin C, too, including oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, raspberries, cantaloupe and pineapple.
Involved in the transportation of oxygen into the brain, Vitamin E enhances brain functioning and has a calming effect. It also acts as an oxidant, reducing free radical damage to cells that occurs during periods of stress. Food sources of vitamin E include green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, and nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
Multivitamins, especially when they also include mineral complexes with potassium and selenium, are important for overall functioning of the brain and adrenal glands.
Though they are technically minerals, calcium and magnesium are worth noting here as supplements because of their calming effect. When taken together, they can relieve anxiety, tension and nervousness. Try 2,000 mg daily of calcium and 600 to 1,000 mg daily of magnesium. Take shortly before bedtime to enhance sleep.
- vitamins image by Keith Frith from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.